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19 Every LRT system operates in its own unique context. In gen- nity that live or work in the LRT area. LRT safety treatments eral, however, different categories of rail transit alignment have can be applied system-wide or to specific locations. In many different types of safety issues. For example, LRT alignments cases, individual treatments are not applied in isolation, but are with lower operating speeds (less than 35 mph (55 km/h)) gen- applied as part of an integrated treatment package. A package erally have a higher level of interaction between LRVs and of treatments can be effective, as some safety issues cannot be pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. Warning systems and traf- addressed by a single treatment alone, but when a package of fic control devices for LRT crossings vary between lower and treatments is applied, it may be difficult to discern which ele- higher operating speeds, and on different sections of the same ment of a package has the most effect on safety. system. These differences are likely to be reflected in the safety This section provides an overview of physical improvements issues experienced. and programs within the community. Additional information The project team summarized the above issues into five top about safety treatments is presented in Chapter 4. Detailed areas of safety concern that must be addressed along LRT information about specific treatments is presented in Chap- alignments: ter 5 and Appendix A, the Catalog of Safety Treatments. 1. Motorist, cyclist, and pedestrian inattention; Physical Improvements 2. Motorist, cyclist, and pedestrian confusion; 3. Lack of appropriate physical separation between motorists, Physical improvements, including traffic control improve- cyclists, pedestrians, and the LRV; ments, can be divided into two overall types: active and passive 4. Risky behavior by motorists and pedestrians; and measures. Passive measures do not change with the approach 5. Operator error or lack of information. of the LRV, whereas active measures react when an LRV approaches. A passive physical treatment might be a warning The five top areas of safety concern were common themes for pedestrians or motorists about the presence of an LRV. An noted in almost all communications with LRT agency staff, and active physical treatment might be a device that physically pre- should serve as a basic checklist for addressing safety problems. vents pedestrians and vehicles from entering the ROW. While As sufficient data are not available to determine the relative passive measures have the advantage of simplicity (for exam- importance of the safety concerns, it is not possible to indicate ple, they cannot fail electrically or mechanically), the change which are the most important. It is also worth noting that the that occurs in an active device has the effect of generating atten- concerns are not necessarily independent. For example, during tion from the intended audience of motorists, pedestrians, and the site visits, pedestrians were observed to use marked and cyclists. This may add considerably to the safety benefit of the controlled crossings far more often where there was some phys- basic message. During the site visits, the project team observed ical barrier to direct them. that well-designed active measures appeared more effective It is clear that motorist- and pedestrian-related behaviors are than passive measures, and this was also noted in the feedback challenges in LRT safety. LRT agencies can deal directly with from agency staff. operator error or lack of information, but they do not have Active treatments that were not well tuned to their envi- direct influence over motorists and pedestrians. At the macro ronment lost impact. For example, in one location the site level, it may be impossible or impractical to provide complete visit team observed a pedestrian crossing with flashing lights physical separation between LRT and other modes for many and bells that rang for many seconds longer than necessary LRT systems. LRT agencies and the broader transportation and consequently seemed to be ignored by virtually all pedes- planning authorities must balance the risk of collisions with trians in the vicinity who crossed the tracks regardless of the other needs and considerations for the greatest overall value. warning. The message was certainly clear but the information At the micro level, there must be a distinction between pre- was treated as incorrect by the pedestrians. However if the venting risky behavior due to inattention and confusion, and bell would start ringing much closer to the arrival time of the preventing risky behavior due to purposeful noncompliance. LRV, people might take it more seriously. In another location The agencies visited were clear that purposeful noncompliance observed, an active second train warning sign had poor con- can be difficult, if not impossible, to prevent. trast and was essentially unreadable in daylight conditions, so the message was not effectively delivered. LRT Safety Treatments Education and Enforcement Programs LRT safety treatments can be divided into two major cate- gories: physical improvements (including traffic controls) to The second major category of treatments comprises pro- the immediate environment surrounding the LRT, and educa- grams within the agency and community. These programs tion and enforcement programs for LRT staff and the commu- include education and enforcement activities. It is common for